It’s fairly common knowledge that snuggling a cat or dog boosts serotonin, the feel-good hormone. As it turns out, there are many kinds of pet therapy, and they are all good for us! Therapy animals are especially good for seniors because they offer such a wide array of health benefits. Here are five important ways that animals can improve their health and quality of life.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces stress levels
- Reduces loneliness
- Fights depression
- Stimulates the senses
These benefits can all help seniors live longer, have healthier lives, and stave off age-related illnesses like dementia.
Types of Pet Therapy
Interactions with animals of just about any kind can provide seniors with something positive. Many individuals have an affinity for horses, while others may love goats or chickens. Farm animals aside, turtles and bearded dragons can also offer the benefits of pet therapy.
Owning a Pet
Most senior living communities, or life plan communities, are pet-friendly and allow residents to keep a pet. These are usually restricted to cats and dogs, though they may include other small animals.
Animal Therapy Farms
If horses or other farm animals appeal to you, check around to see if any local farms offer animal-assisted therapy. Horse therapy has become a common practice and is a great way for seniors to safely interact with these gentle giants.
These farms may also allow visitors to spend time with goats, chickens, or other animals residing there. Sometimes sitting by a pond and watching ducks can be therapeutic, too!
Animal Shelters & Rescues
Another way to benefit from pet therapy is to volunteer at a local animal shelter or rescue. These organizations always need volunteers, and you can do as much or as little as you like.
If you’re a dog person, you can volunteer to walk and play with them. If cats are more your speed, you can play with them and help socialize them to make them more adoptable.
Many shelters and rescues also take in rabbits and other animals that need help, so it never hurts to ask. It’s not unusual for them to also have turtles, bearded dragons, or other pets that are commonly abandoned.
The Bottom Line
There are many ways to enjoy the company of animals and reap the benefits that companionship offers. Ask around to find out what options are available in your area and how to get involved. The animals will thank you for it, too!
To learn more about pet therapy for seniors, reach out to Moldaw Residences. You can contact us online at your convenience or call today to schedule a visit.